The man Jenny Macklin said had a “dark ages” view of women, the man who refuses to acknowledge Aboriginal custodianship at public events, has indicated his support for Labor’s changes to the NT Intervention. That Tony Abbott is willing to support the laws should indicate just how bad they are.
The laws have been designed to entrench the Intervention.Macklin’s claim that they mean the reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) is a lie. The majority of the Intervention’s measures—Government Business Managers, alcohol and pornography bans, five year compulsory leases, and extreme police powers—won’t change. The measures won’t be open to challenge using the RDA.
Each piece of legislation needs to say the RDA is applicable for it to apply—this legislation deliberately excludes it. Macklin asserts that these control mechanisms are “special measures” that benefit the community—but this cannot be tested in a court.
The hated income management has been deemed “non-discriminatory” by removing mention of the 73 currently prescribed Aboriginal communities.
Instead, the Minister will now be able to deem any community, region or even state as “disadvantaged”, and people receiving Newstart or parenting payments will be subject to the welfare quarantine. The RDA will be reinstated for this part of the laws, but not for the bulk of legislation that covers the Intervention. Not only that, but it means potentially more Aboriginal people will be income managed.
These lies need to be exposed by campaign groups across the country, and used to fire up the growing resistance to the Intervention.
A public meeting on the new laws hosted by STICS in Sydney drew over 130 people, and protests are planned for May when the laws will go to the Senate.
By Jean Parker

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Jean
    Don’t know where you get your information, but “the hated income management” is actually not hated nearly as much as you imagine. Some hate it, some love it, but the great majority don’t seem particularly fussed by it one way or the other.

    However, many people have benefited from the extra availability of Centrelink staff.

    As a consequence, many have a much better understanding of the welfare system, and have developed a greater capacity to understand, and undertake, budgeting and saving. Quite a few have been able to access extra entitlements that they were not previously receiving for various reasons.

  2. Bob,

    I agree that one positive out of the Intervention is that Centrelink has done some creative things to address remote servicing.

    But the ‘love it’ side has been getting a lot of media out of proportion to their numbers. The reality is that alcoholism hasn’t dropped, no more children have had on-going medical services, there’s no drop in domestic violence. I notice that it’s consistently only one community in the NT that keeps getting media attention.

    The only social effect visible is that Aboriginal people are being forced to abandon outlying communities. The government labels them ‘unviable’ to justify this – as if Canberra has given itself the right to label where anyone lives as ‘viable’ or not.

    I also know there is documented evidence of thousands of families fleeing the NT across the border to SA and WA to escape the measures of the intervention.

    Now that the RDA will apply to the Intervention, we can all expect that when we need to front a Centrelink office our payments will be at least partly quarantined.

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